New here, severe GERD..

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New Member

Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/27/2011 3:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi guys,

I found this forum by searching for my symptoms. I've been reading many threads and decided to register and share my story (might be long).

I'm male and 25 years old. I started noticing my symptoms a few months ago. I had severe belching, gas, constant fullness, and chest pains. It was something I had never experienced before. In October I started feeling extremely full after any meal and thought it was time to visit a doctor. He prescribed me 20mg omeperazole, saying it should just take care of the problem. I took it for a few weeks with no relief. End of October I went back because I feared it was my heart. He did blood work, urine test, chest X-rays, and an EKG. Everything came back normal. He referred me to a Gi specialist for an upper endoscopy and I kept eating what I normally did because this was all new to me.. On November 29 I was diagnosed with mild gastritis, esophagitis, and a hiatal hernia. The doctor who performed the scope said he took a biopsy but didn't see anything serious, what I had was a pretty common thing. The days after the scope I felt very naseous and had severe headaches. I also had many chest pains/tightness. I was still paranoid that it was my heart. I spent so many nights awake thinking I would not wake up the next morning. I also noticed a lot of tingling and numbness in my head, arms, and legs. I ended up in the ER about 3.5 weeks ago with chest pains, numbness tingling in my arms, and severe dizziness. They checked out my heart again with same tests as before and said it was not my heart. They prescribed my ranitidine. Two days later I followed up with my doctor and he said not to worry about my heart that I am only 25 and he's never seen a 25 year old with heart disease. He said he could check my gall bladder but he didn't think it was that because my chest pains are on the left side not right.

I eliminated soda, greasy foods, spicy foods from my diet to see if that would help but I feel the same if not worse. I don't eat much right now.

My head has been numb for weeks and my chest isn't any better. I've been searching for answers ever since my problems started and I think it has made me worse. I have thought it is my heart and neurological problems. I've thought he worst of things. I went to the ER again on December 20 because my dizziness is driving my insane and because I'm so worried about my constant chest pains, numbness and tingling. They keep saying it's nothing to do with my heart and everything to do with my gerd issues. I was also put on anti depressants for anxiety and they told me I need a higher dosage of the omeperazole. So I followed up with my doctor and I'm currently on omeperazole 40mg and citalopram for the anxiety. I've experience many symptoms such as difficulty swallowing and burning sensations in my body.

I want to mention that I have a history of anxiety attacks in the months leading up to my gerd. I would be falling asleep and see something staring down at me and I would scream 'mom.' I have lost 25lbs since the end of October.

It seems as this has taken over my life. I can't stop thinking about this and I just wish I could feel normal again! Should I seek a second opinion? Is there something else going on? I'm sorry for venting. Any help would be appreciated...

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 42
   Posted 12/27/2011 9:16 AM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to my life, except I haven't been feeling like this for as long. I, too, am constantly paranoid that it's my heart, even though my mother (who's had both heart and acid reflux problems) assures me that my pains are not heart related. My pains are also mostly on the left side.

I've been on Nexium for a week and right now, it feels like nothing's working. One of the things I've learned here is that it's important to find your triggers. Right now, I'm not sure what mine are because it still seems like everything I put in my mouth gives me trouble.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 42
   Posted 12/27/2011 9:16 AM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to my life, except I haven't been feeling like this for as long. I, too, am constantly paranoid that it's my heart, even though my mother (who's had both heart and acid reflux problems) assures me that my pains are not heart related. My pains are also mostly on the left side.

I've been on Nexium for a week and right now, it feels like nothing's working. One of the things I've learned here is that it's important to find your triggers. Right now, I'm not sure what mine are because it still seems like everything I put in my mouth gives me trouble.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 12/27/2011 11:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to HealingWell and I am glad you found us.  I am sorry to hear what you have been going through.  Yes, seek that second opinion and get all the tests you need and if they are all normal and your heart checks out fine then I would suspect your anxiety is contributing to your symptoms as well as starting new medications.
It sounds like  you may have some health anxiety as well as you get caught up in the "what if?" thinking. 
Here are some practical ideas to try when you start to feel symptoms and that anxiety starts to climb :

Exercise. take a walk, play a game of basketball, or ride a bike. The point is to exercise because when you do, your body will release endorphins, which contribute to feeling good.

Call a friend when feelings of anxiousness or fear arise. A friend is not a replacement for professional help when needed, but a friend can be there to listen when you are having a bad day. Sometimes letting off a little steam can help relive tension and anxiety.

Reduce your caffeine intake. As you probably already know, caffeine is a stimulant. The last thing a person suffering from an anxiety disorder needs is a stimulant.

Share a laugh. Nothing breaks the tension like laughing. If you walk around feeling miserable, you will be miserable, but if you laugh life seems better. So if you are down, watch a funny movie or TV show to laugh.

Take ten minutes and relax. Do something that you find relaxing: a hot bath, a video game, a book, anything to make you forget for a few moments about your anxious feelings.

Know your personal limits. One of the chief causes of anxiety is when a person takes on more than he can handle. Know your limits as to what you can do and how much you can do. It will go a long way in reducing anxiety in life. Reducing anxiety is not hard to do once a person knows how to it. The one principle to keep in mind is if you have any doubts about reducing anxiety on your own, seek professional help.

I hope this helps you in some small way.  Know you are going to be OK.




Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

"only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be"

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 12/27/2011 3:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi s2obed,

DITTO! I had EXACTLY the same as you - ended up in hospital with a panic attack, thought I was having a heart attack or stroke - was feeling fine in the morning, no anxiety nothing at all and it just HIT me! I was diagnosed with mild reflux 3 months before and put on Omeprazole but didn't link the 2. After I had the panic attack I suffered SEVERE anxiety, couldn't leave the house, drive, be in crowds - changed my life completely!! I was put on beta plackers which helped but I lost my job, then my house and me and my family had to move in with my parents - really bad year of it.

I gradually started getting my life back together, started driving again, got a job etc... 1.5 years later I had a medication review and my GP sent me for another endoscopy as part of it... they found that my hernia had grown from .5cm to 5.6cm and my reflux was severe GERD and now have 4cm Barretts Oesophagus...the surgeon said that the panic attack and anxiety are all linked to GERD / reflux... the heart is linked to the Oesophagus and reflux / GERD has an impact on all these organs and could be responsible for many illnesses / conditions.

I have since had the fundo wrap - now 6 weeks post op... I haven't taken the beta blockers since as my blood pressure was too low and I haven't had any anxiety at all or panic attacks - I have yet to go back to work but I feel so much better... apart from worrying about the barretts and progression of that but my surgeon assured me that it was a success so I'm hoping it'll be OK.


New Member

Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/28/2011 12:48 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for all your replies. I have learned a lot thus far.

My symptoms are constant. I don't find relief in anything really. It seems it's a new symptom everyday, for instance I started getting burning sensations near my heart. By the way, I do try to keep busy and do fun things to keep me distracted but I still feel the symptoms. Friends and family keep telling me to ignore the sickness but it's hard to.

I received a journal for Christmas and I will start documenting my symptoms and diet. I will also seek a second opinion to make sure nothing else is going on.

Its been very rough but I've had a lot of support from my gf, friends, family. I'm very glad I found these forums because you will be able to understand me better.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 273
   Posted 12/28/2011 3:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Your story sounds somewhat similar to mine. Stress and anxiety can cause gastro-intestinal problems and acid reflux! I have gone to see many doctors who only prescribed me PPI and antacid that didn't help, until I saw an experienced doc who looked at my endoscopy report and told me my stomach anatomy is normal. All my reflux problems are caused by stress. He told me to stop taking PPI and start to take anti-depressant. Since then my problem has improved tremendously.

If your problem is anxiety related, PPI could make things worse. PPI is meant to heal esophagitis (inflammation of esophagus) and maintain that healing, it will not stop reflux. I suggest you seek a second opinion.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 136
   Posted 12/28/2011 7:49 AM (GMT -6)   
I had the exact symtoms when it all started in end of September this year, i thought i had another urinary infection that affected my kidneys.

It started with terrible chest pain after a cold where i've been to bed for 5 days, i thought it was the cold that caused the chest pain but i was wrong.

The acid had been laying around in my esophagus when i was sick and irritated the lining, as soon as i tried to bend my upper body i couldn't as it hurted so much.

Also i had the intense burning in the middle of my stomach and it was many times all over the stomach and it even felt down the legs, it felt like acid moving around, i was so bad i sweated all the time because it was so hot in my stomach.

I went to my doctor and she tought it was another infection, i got Ciprofloxacin and it took away some of the most intense burning so i went back and she asked me if i had a soar throat, not much i told her, she put me on Omeprazole and it did help on the 3rd day but i developed terrible side effects on the 11th day so i had to stop, since then i can't take any PPIs or H2's, tried them all, same response from my body, it doesn't like it.

I've been worrying to death as i had GERD 20 years ago which healed after 6 months or so, but this time was worse, the extreme burning in the stomach is not fun at all.

My doctor sent me for a endoscopy and i haven't heard back yet due to holidays but i have been PPI free since did the endoscopy which is 3 weeks now, i can live without them but it's tough but i beleive the body can fix this with time if you do the lifestyle changes needed to eat right and so on which i've done now the last couple of months.

Hang in there, i beleive many doctors doesn't make a big deal of this but many of us can't tolerate the meds and needs proper support.

I am now healing myself and going the right way slowly, i beleive taking PPIs make things worse in some people, i have noticed with PPIs you get rebound even from 1 or 2 days, everytime i stopped i get terrible acid production for a few days only on 1 pill and then stopped, they make more harm than help and there even a Danish research document that explains that PPIs can cause life-long dependence due to over production of acid when you stop, how fun is that?

Post Edited (lanab) : 12/28/2011 5:54:18 AM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 136
   Posted 12/28/2011 7:59 AM (GMT -6)   
WJF said...

If your problem is anxiety related, PPI could make things worse. PPI is meant to heal esophagitis (inflammation of esophagus) and maintain that healing, it will not stop reflux. I suggest you seek a second opinion.

I beleive that as well, i beleive my symtoms are caused by stress/anxiety and overweight, i have lost all overweight now and needs to control the stress/anxiety part, i will visit my neurologist soon and will talk with him about this as he told me before to try Lyrica for my problems.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/29/2011 9:13 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello, I am new to this forum so I am not even sure if this will get posted.

I have had similar symptoms, the burning chest pains for a month now. It started one evening like a slight sore throat. I thought i was coming down with a cold but the next day all i felt was this horrible burning sensation in my chest, it's so hard to describe because people don't understand when i tell them what it feels like. It's a burning feeling near my esophagus, feels like food or even drinking is hard to go down, or it feels like even though i can swallow without pain food takes forever to go down, feels like its stuck in my chest. Even my doctor said your food dissolves in your stomach not in your throat chest area, ( I know that but how can I explain it to him!!) Other feelings i get when it first started is pains all over my shoulders and arms, feels like i have no energy at all there very strange.

so the dr send me for all this blood tests and the all came out clear. I also suffer from Crohn's disease and Slow Thyroid for over 10 years now. I wonder if this is related to Crohn's but my dr thinks is reflux. I will be having a colonoscopy and endoscopy end of February. I have tried 2 types of medication but nothing is helping so far, Naxium 40mg which hasn't helped me at all. Have also taken Metoclopramide HCL 10Mg whis is meant to help with that vomiting feeling but doesn't do much either. I just hope after i have the endoscopy done i will be given medication that will help me. I'm trying to eat as little and as plain as possible. Reduced my coffee intake to one cup or none at all per day. Trying to figure out if it really does bother me.

Sorry i said so much but i am desperate for answers.
Yours Sincerely Sefi.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 12/29/2011 10:56 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey s2obed and Sefi,

Welcome to HealingWell :) I would, at this point, recommend that both of you start keeping a food diary. I know it sounds tedious, but you can conclusively rule out foods that bother you as well as identifying those that do. I have managed to almost eliminate through diet, weight loss, and medication, but I credit the diet with helping me the most. I found an uncommon trigger - dairy - and have cut my symptoms by about 90%. I would never have found it if I wasn't writing my foods down.

Also, Sefi, you haven't said too much, so don't worry :) I am sorry to hear that you are suffering. Just be advised that if you want people to answer you directly, sometimes it's better to open your own thread - sometimes, if you post inside someone else's thread, your comment gets buried and others can't see it.

I hope you're all feeling well!

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 136
   Posted 12/30/2011 11:45 AM (GMT -6)   
You can have bile reflux and Nexium won't help a bit in that case.

mock turtle
Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 467
   Posted 12/30/2011 4:31 PM (GMT -6)   

i experience much of the anxiety and related issues you talked about and as you can see from the responses above we re not alone

the digestive system is connected to the brain by the vagus nerve

that same nerve bundle has a lot to do with emotion

for example cholecystokinin a digestive enzyme can also cause nausea and feelings of anxiety and can delay gastric emptying...all factors in aggravating gerd ! ! !

how you feel, emotionally is going to have a large impact on your health and your digestive system

it was.... and is a top priority for me to implement effective strategies for dealing with anxiety

easier said than done, as anxiety agravates gerd and gerd boosts our anxiety...yikes!

heres what i do that has helped

i drink camamile tea and never drink caffeinated coffee

i go for 2 mile walks every day

i do breating exercises, and or yoga poses every day

i take occasional otc gaba enhancing supplements like passion flower when things get rough (can be had a grocery stores or vitamin stores where i live in the pacific north west.

finnaly i go on line to youtube or similar sharing services and listen to free self hypnosis sessions...many of them are junk but some are absolutely outstanding

you will be able to tell right away which ones are flashy garbage and which ones are plain relaxation monologues.

i listen with headphones in a quiet room

the good ones will just simply talk to you about slowing down and listening to your breathing and then direct you to feel and relax parts of your anatomy, head neck shoulders abdomen etc one part at a time.

also good sessions guide you thru relaxing imagery like walking thru the woods near a gentile water fall or sitting on a sunny beach listening to the waves

heres one example by a lady who has some good stuff and some stuff i think is just commercialism so i dont recommend everything she does, but this one is very simple and relaxing

dont get me wrong, i agree that diet, medication, diagnostics, etc are all very important in dealing with gerd

but for here and now i just wanted to say that relaxing and de-stressing is very very important in my effort to mitigate gerd

best wishes to you in the new year
mock turtle
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